Finding Closure When the Other Person Won’t Talk

Is it possible to find closure when the person you have a conflict with refuses to speak to you about it?

Yes, absolutely.

Many years ago, I had a small misunderstanding. Due to some old hurts, this small misunderstanding morphed into an enormous one, even though I tried to fix the situation.

For a while, I felt heartache about this experience and about his inability to see where I was coming from. Strangely enough, he felt the same way towards me. Even though I have not had any contact with him since the experience many years ago, as I think about him now, I am filled with love and compassion. Whether or not we see each other again, I have found closure.

Fortunately for each of us, finding closure does not require another person’s cooperation, only our own. We may need closure over the loss of a job, a loved one, a relationship, a marriage or even the loss of a dream. Through the years, these are some steps that have been helpful to me in finding closure and healing:

  • Allowing Yourself to Walk in the Other Person’s Shoes—Pondering his trials and all the things he had to overcome in life, I could not help but feel a deep compassion for him. When I put aside my hurt for just a moment and allowed myself to take into consideration these experiences, the things that I once found troubling and hurtful became not only understandable and forgivable, but some even became extraordinary and incredible. 
  • Reinterpreting the Past—Isn’t it interesting how many movies there are about time travel? What would that be like to redo the situation? But the last time I checked, time machines weren’t yet listed on Amazon. But the good news is we do have the ability to transport ourselves to the past in our minds. Get out your shovel and start digging. Get past the hurt and pain. Can you see anything different about the situation? Can you see that maybe the other person was hurting too? Could it be possible that the person was doing the best he or she could under the given circumstances? Could it be that their behaviors were a reflection on them and their weakness rather than your self-worth?
  • Looking for the Gains behind the Losses—If the situation is fresh, this exercise may be a bit difficult. After a short time, write down some of the things you’ve learned from the experience.  If you dig deep enough, you will find them. Any time there is a loss, I personally believe we make room for something better to come along. Though we won’t always receive this blessing in our time table. Start searching for that something else. It’s out there. 
  • Forgiving Yourself and the Other Person—Sometimes, it’s not because we don’t want to forgive, but we just don’t know how to do it. There are no clear instructions on how to forgive, but as you follow some of these steps, I believe it will go towards softening your heart, chipping away a little pain here and a little there until one day the pain of the experience is barely noticeable.

If you have tried doing all these things, and you still can’t find closure or peace, then wait. It will take as long as it takes. Forcing yourself to speed up this process will only delay it even further. Perhaps, there is something else you haven’t learned yet about the situation. Over the course of years, small truths have come to me and opened my eyes and have helped me to have more compassion and understanding towards people.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tnoa says:

    You know, I’ve done that before, and it does help to sort out your feelings.

  2. alicegristle says:

    Ya, good points, Noa! I once read about an exercise that’s supposed to help with this. In it, you take a pen and some paper and write yourself a letter, imagining it’s from the person who wronged you. So that way, even if the other person won’t talk to you, you can sort of go around it and pretend they are…
    Anyway, pretending or not, I’ve heard it actually helps. Never was in a position that I had to try it, though.

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